This article about how the UK grading system works was updated by the Great British Mag content team on 5 September, 2019
The UK grading system is not terribly different to the grading systems in China, India, USA or the EU. The top grades go to the people who excel and get very high percentages and the pass grades are given to anyone who manages to achieve the minimum grade percentage required. But that is where the similarities end.
Whereas other systems use the alphabet to demonstrate the achievements of the student, the UK system uses a class grade order. This system dates all the way back to the invention of the university itself and reflects the archetype of the British class system.
The UK grading system:
First (1st): The best grade you can get. The student has got higher than 70% on their course or assignment. An almost perfect piece of work. You should be very happy with it. The markers definitely were…
2:1 (upper second class): Student achieved between 60%-69%. The work was at a very good level, but there was still room for improvement. Kick back, smile and relax. You’ve done a good job! You will need to get a 2:1 or higher if you’re planning on staying on for a masters or post-graduate degree.
2:2 (lower second class): If you got 50%-59% on a course or assignment, then you have this grade. Even though it is not a perfect score it is still very good. You should still be happy about getting this mark.
Third: If you get between 45%-49%, you need to start thinking about where you went wrong. It’s not the worst mark, but perhaps some tutoring might help next time.
Ordinary degree: The absolute minimum you need to pass the course. Getting between 40%-44% is not where you want to be. You should definitely seek out some extra help if you want to do more than scrape by. Or maybe cut down on the time spent in the pub…
Fail: Anything below 40% constitutes failure. Sorry, but you will need to take the course again to pass.